Shaking, clammy fingers and a heartbeat so loud I’m shocked those in the room can’t hear it over my typing… but I write and focus on breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Again.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

I hear it again and again in my head.

It’s easier to say so over coffee with one or in this online space with however many visit and read the words. But let me tell you what I do not do:

I do not speak to larger groups.

Bible study? Sure. Home groups? Okay.

To anyone on my campus who decides to walk into the recital hall at 7pm this evening? Yeah. No. Not my thing.

So far from my thing, in fact, that I can barely breathe and I am “safe and sound” in my room, 2:23pm on a Monday afternoon.

I’m in oceans deep and the only thing I can remember is that He walks on the water and so I’m not going to sink.

He has called me to this or I would not be here. I would be running the other way.


This has been a season of pushing me out of my normal and safe, but I am hanging tightly to the idea that comfort zones need to be redefined because I am always with the Comforter.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:7-8a

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

I moved twelve hours from home for many reasons, but one of the biggest was that no one here knew my story. Unless I chose to tell it, no one would know the past. There would be no reason for empathy or sympathy, if people chose to like me it would be for who I am, not the story and path I’ve walked.

No one knew I had brain surgery at 17 and most certainly, not one single soul in Birmingham, Alabama knew that I didn’t believe love or community were real things.

I didn’t want to hide my story, I just didn’t trust anyone with it.

Over time I’ve told it again and again to those I trust deep and sure, the girls who have loved me back to community. God has renewed me something fierce, not just physically but in every way. The old is gone and what’s come is new – and I am thankful.

He has redeemed and reconciled, He has restored and renewed. He has done it all and there is not one iota of space for my name on the dotted line.

It is all Him. Every bit of it.

Tonight I’m sharing the story. It’s not hard to talk about where I’m at now… it’s the fact that to do that, I have to go back to where it hurts, to the bruised and broken parts. The places inside that still cut and bleed and are bandaged up with His grace.

I don’t think about them too often. There is a time to look out the rear-view mirror but it’s dangerous to drive looking back instead of straight ahead.

It hurts to go back and it’s terrifying to tell the story of how broken I was. But in the broken His glory seeps out of the cracks.

So I’ve got to. Because I was asked to share, yes, but really because He has called me to it.

He isn’t concerned that I’ll be on a stage or that there will be a microphone attached to my shirt. He isn’t worried that I’m nervous and He isn’t anxious over my pounding heartbeat, my cold hands, or my often rambling mouth. He isn’t tense or distressed that I got very sick when we did a run-though.

He’s just going to be for me. He is going to show up and listen and I pray He’s the only One I speak for. Because He will show up in me, the words His – not mine.

Once the words escape I won’t be able to get them back. I have no control over who walks into that room and who walks out knowing way more about me than I may ever know about them.

The cost feels great but the reward is greater. I’m telling my story to give Him the glory.

From ashes to beauty.
From death to life.
From darkness to light.
From sick to healed.
From old to new.

This is the story of what He has done. This is the story of renewal. This is the story of a broken girl and a faithful, beautiful Savior.


“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those He redeemed from trouble.” Psalm 107:1-2